Creativity is vital in nearly every industry and occupation, and companies are actively looking for innovative people who can effectively communicate their ideas to promote greater productivity and further the business. However, fostering imaginative thinking often starts with a business’s corporate culture and its approach toward innovation, collaboration, and recognition. Let’s explore the importance of creativity and innovation in business and ways to put these concepts into practice.
Creativity is inherent in all people, but for some, it may lie dormant. As a result, leaders play a central role in helping employees unlock their creativity. That said, being creative as a leader and manager requires an understanding of proven ways to inspire workers to think outside the box to solve problems. The same notion can apply to creating innovation within an organization, given employees may need to better understand a company’s ideas and goals before bringing them to fruition.
One avenue to achieve this is implementing a weekly open forum focusing on the importance of creativity and innovation in business operations. Through this forum, all team members are invited to share general ideas about a project or initiative, giving the process numerous perspectives. This isn’t to say that every single idea will be great, but with enough conversation and suggestions, there will likely be one idea that can be built on. What’s more, employees will see the benefits of creativity and innovation in business, which could spark their interest in finding new ways to achieve objectives.
Dr. Kimberly Weller, assistant professor at the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, stressed the importance of creativity and innovation in business. “Creativity and networked innovation is the key to surviving and thriving in today’s fiercely competitive, hyper-turbulent business environment,” she said. “The marketplace demands adaptation to rapid, relentless technological change, the development of a continual pipeline of game-changing products and services, and an authentic, always-on engagement with consumers.”
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Value Diversity in Teams
When a team is put together, it is tempting to group those with the same mindset. However, this can stagnate a team and stifle creative solutions. Instead, teams should be comprised of individuals with varying mindsets and thought processes. It can be as simple as having people from different departments on the same problem-solving team. Diversifying team members offers a company an array of opinions for problems and helps generate new paths for creative solutions.
Again, this goes back to the notion of approaching a task from the vantage point of numerous perspectives. When grouping individuals with different mindsets, a team also gains varying degrees of expertise and insight. For example, a group that has been struggling with a campaign to market a new consumer product may discover an entirely new path they may not have considered on their own when an individual from accounting is asked to weigh in. This approach to a peer culture is one that Pixar relies on during its brainstorming processes.
Reward, Don’t Stifle
A business leader who welcomes a variety of opinions can foster creativity and innovation throughout their team. However, companies and teams often lack creativity simply because they’re not rewarded for their innovative ideas. Many employees think that if they speak up, they will be reprimanded for going against the grain. But Dr. Weller urges businesses to push against this notion.
“Organizations are challenged to create a culture of system-wide innovation fueled by shared passions and vision,” Dr. Weller said. “Tomorrow’s great leaders understand that they must encourage open communication, curiosity, and risk-taking to foster the knowledge mining, trust, and networked collaboration needed to inspire tomorrow’s disruptive ideas.”
It’s vital for managers to encourage originality and offer the right tools, such as entertaining team-building exercises and role-playing scenarios. Leaders should also work to instill communication skills that drive innovation while letting employees know they will be rewarded for outside-the-box thinking.
Another proven method that will help companies inspire creative solutions is to advocate for employees to further their education. For instance, the Master of Arts in Communication curriculum at Queens incorporates myriad topics, such as networking, the development of creative communication skills, and innovative thinking. It also delves into how individuals can understand the importance of creativity and innovation in business as they build the knowledge to reach their full potential. Thus, employees are able to explore new and traditional approaches and learn how to foster authentic, collaborative relationships in the workplace. This process can also renew one’s confidence and passion for a job — and perhaps open up new possibilities for a career transformation.
Even though creativity comes naturally, it is an ever-evolving process that needs to be nurtured and expressed. When individuals decide to continue their education with an online MA in Communication, they are making a commitment to better serve themselves and their companies as innovative and forward-thinking assets. Find out more about the link between higher education and creativity. Request more information about a communication degree today.